TELUS Garden plaza's glass staircase leads down to this futuristic office (PHOTOS)

Oct 30 2019, 9:10 am

The descending sleek glass spiral staircase and elevator at the southeast corner of the intersection of West Georgia Street and Seymour Street is unmistakably a striking feature for the base of the TELUS Garden office tower.

But where does it lead to?

TELUS Garden Henriquez Partners Architects

The glass elevator and staircase at the TELUS Garden office tower plaza that leads to the offices of Henriquez Partners Architects. (Henriquez Partners Architects)

The significance of this semi-hidden below-grade space should not be underestimated; it is anything but typical, as it does not lead to the office tower’s underground parkade, but rather it is an entrance into a bright, open labyrinth for Henriquez Partners Architects, one of the leading architectural firms in the city.

TELUS Garden Henriquez Partners Architects

Inside Henriquez Partners Architects’ underground office at TELUS Garden in downtown Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects)

TELUS Garden Henriquez Partners Architects

Inside Henriquez Partners Architects’ underground office at TELUS Garden in downtown Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects)

The firm’s headquarters occupy a 14,000-sq-ft underground space directly below the West Georgia Street public plaza of the office tower. Natural light pours into the space, streaming in from the glass paving on the plaza floor and transitioning through two large sculptural light scoops, with their funnel shapes inspired by Le Corbusier’s Church in Firminy, France.

Supplemental lighting is provided by suspended pendant lights within this unique interior space.

TELUS Garden Henriquez Partners Architects

Inside Henriquez Partners Architects’ underground office at TELUS Garden in downtown Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects)

TELUS Garden Henriquez Partners Architects

Inside Henriquez Partners Architects’ underground office at TELUS Garden in downtown Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects)

Approximately 80 people work in the studio, configured as a large, collaborative space with three long work tables that form six rows of continuous workstations.

TELUS Garden, both the office tower on West Georgia Street and the residential tower on Robson Street, was designed by the firm and developed by Westbank.

While the office tower was being constructed earlier in the decade, the underground space was originally slated to be a theatre and then a sports bar, but those plans never materialized and the space became available to the firm for lease.

TELUS Garden Henriquez Partners Architects

Inside Henriquez Partners Architects’ underground office at TELUS Garden in downtown Vancouver. (Henriquez Partners Architects)

Just last week, the studio celebrated its 50th anniversary, honouring its founder, Richard Henriquez.

The firm is behind the designs of a number of prominent Vancouver buildings, such as the BC Cancer Research Centre, UBC Michael Smith Laboratory, Coal Harbour Community Centre, and the Woodward’s redevelopment.

It has two major upcoming projects in the city — the Main Street tech hub campus in Mount Pleasant, and the redevelopment of Oakridge Centre.

richard henriquez partners architects

Richard Henriquez in 2018. (Henriquez Partners Architects)